Since most of this episode was a flashsideways, I'm first going to give an overview of Desmond's sideways life, then do my usual question analysis afterward. With Desmond episodes, you can never do a conventional recap.
Flash sideways story
We first see Desmond in the sideways examining the Oceanic board at the airport. Notice that he saw his reflection in the glass. Of course you did. We're all on the look out for mirror glances in these flash stories. Turns out Desmond works for Charles Widmore, as his right hand man, which was pointed out by his driver ... none other than George Minkowski (remember him? He died on the freighter because his consciousness was jumping through time and he didn't have a constant.)
Widmore praises Desmond for having a life void of attachments, no family and no commitments. He is free to travel the world. His assignment this time? To watch over the bass player from Driveshaft to make sure he makes it to his wife's charity event. Widmore's son is a musician and wanted to combine classical music with rock. Of course we knew who his son was, but wasn't it great to see Daniel again?
Spectacular, Consciousness Altering Love
This is the point that this episode went from being another "what if" type sideways story to pedal to the metal, this is what we've been waiting for, the sideways world and island world are connected awesomeness. Now if we could only wrap our brains around this and figure out what's going on or where this is heading.
Charlie asks Desmond if he's ever felt spectacular, consciousness altering love and tells him about the time he felt it ... on Flight 815 coming back from Sydney. Turns out, Charlie didn't try to kill himself in the bathroom, but he was trying to eliminate the evidence, i.e. his stash since he knew there was a cop sitting with a woman in handcuffs (Kate). When the plane hit turbulence, he choked on one of the bags. When he was choking, he saw her, a beautiful blond. They were together, they've always been and always will be together. He experienced this type of love, but then Jack revived him. Now, we know why Charlie was so disappointed that Jack didn't let him die. He had seen himself with Claire and wanted to stay with her.
I'm not sure how to interpret what Charlie experienced. If Jack had let him die, would he have been with Claire forever? He couldn't have gone back to the other timeline, could he? I mean, with him being dead in the now flooded Looking Glass Station and Claire being the new Rousseau, how would that work out? Is there a 3rd option for our Lost players? An option where Charlie and Claire could live happily ever after?
Charlie Shows Desmond
Charlie takes it upon himself to show Desmond what he saw, by grabbing the steering wheel and crashing the car into the water. After the crash, Desmond escapes, but can't free Charlie right away. He goes down again to save him, and Charlie awakens and puts his hand up to the window, causing Desmond to have a vision of Charlie in the Looking Glass Station with "Not Penny's Boat" written on his hand. The vision passes, and he saves Charlie (remember when he used to save Charlie every episode?).
They are brought to the hospital, and Desmond is not sure how to answer the doctor's question about hallucinations, after the "Not Penny's Boat" vision. He wants to find Charlie, but they bring him for an MRI instead and while in the MRI machine, he has another vision of Charlie and then sees images of his life with Penny, his spectacular, consciousness altering love. He ends the MRI and runs out to find Charlie, but no one is helping him. He even asks Jack, who remembers him from the flight, but then Charlie comes running down the hallway.
He catches up to Charlie (who says he's running because no one here can help him), and they have a great conversation. Desmond wants to see Charlie's hand, and Charlie realizes he saw something. He asks him what he saw? What's he looking for? All Desmond wants to know is who's Penny? Charlie tells/asks him, you felt it? Then delivers a line that could fuel fans questions about the flash sideways. Charlie says, "This doesn't matter. None of this matters. All that matters is that we felt it."
So was Charlie talking about the whole sideways timeline when he said it doesn't matter? What is Charlie going to do now? He told Desmond to stop worrying about him and start looking for Penny. Is Charlie going to start looking for Claire? What triggers these glimpses to the other side? With Charlie and Desmond, was it their near death experiences?
Desmond is tasked with telling Mrs. Widmore that he couldn't deliver Charlie Pace. Of course, Mrs. Widmore turned out to be Eloise Hawking, who seems to know what's going on once again. Remember, she knew what was happening when Desmond flashed in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." She isn't angry with Desmond about not delivering Driveshaft and tells him, what happened happened. Where have we heard that before?
As Desmond is leaving, he overhears the guest list, including Milton, Penny, which catching his attention. Mrs. Widmore refuses to let him see the list and pulls him aside. She tells him to stop and questions the way he sees things. She tells him its a violation (of what? The rules? Who makes these rules?), and he needs to stop looking for whatever he thinks he's looking for. She tells him he has the perfect life and has attained the thing he most wanted, Widmore's approval. She tells him he can't see the list because he's not ready yet.
Man oh man, why does Eloise always have to talk so vaguely? She always delivers huge mythology points, but most of the time, fans can't decipher what's she's saying. She has mega inside information on everything that's been going on, both in the original timeline and in this new one, but we aren't sure what her purpose really is yet. What we do know is that Desmond still remains one of, if not the, most important person on the show and that Eloise and Widmore know what he has to do.
Once we learned that Widmore's son was a musician, I was hoping to see Daniel Faraday again. Surprisingly we didn't, but we did see Daniel Widmore. Daniel and Desmond have another great conversation, and we learn that Daniel has been experiencing the same things that Desmond and Charlie were experiencing. Daniel asks Desmond if he believes in love at first sight and tells him about a red head at the museum (Charlotte) who he saw and felt that he already loved her. But then things got weird.
After he saw her, he wrote a quantum mechanics formula, even though he's only a musician. Then he starts talking about releasing a huge amount of energy, like a nuclear bomb, and questions if this wasn't supposed to be their lives. He wonders if they changed things, and he feels like he already set off a nuclear bomb. He realizes that Desmond felt it too. It = love, and he loves Penny, who is Daniel's half-sister. I found it interesting that Daniel didn't just say, I can tell you where you can find her, but he said where and when. The when stuck out to me with all the whibbly whobbly, timey whimey stuff that's been going on (extra points to anyone who gets that reference).
So what do we make of Daniel and Desmond's conversation? Is the key to the other side love? Desmond and Charlie saw "it" when they had near death experiences, yet Daniel felt "it" after seeing Charlotte, who was eating a candy bar at the time (shout out to her dying moments in "This Place is Death"). Where does the huge amount of energy being released and Daniel jumping to the nuclear bomb conclusion come from? Did he get that idea from his friends looking over his equations? When he pulled out his notebook, I thought he was going to show Desmond a page saying, Desmond Hume is my constant.
Desmond and Penny Meet ... Again
Desmond finds Penny running in a stadium, just like he and Jack were in "Man of Science, Man of Faith." As soon as Penny Milton(wonder why she has that last time, who could be her mom?) touches his hand, he goes back to the island, which we'll wrap up in a bit.
Why'd her touch flash him back to the island timeline and cause him to faint in the sideways one? What flashed him back to the sideways timeline after he left with Sayid? Was that just a vision that he'd already had?
We flashback to Desmond and Penny after he fainted. Penny asks if they've met before, and they end up making a coffee date. Desmond returns to the limo and asks George to get him the flight manifest because he needs to show them something. Is this the something very important that Widmore needs him to do? Did Widmore bring him to the island, not to affect the island events, but to affect the sideways world? How and why does he jump to the conclusion that he has to show the 815 passengers something? Daniel wasn't on the plane but still felt "it."
On the Island
The island events pick up right after Desmond is brought off the sub in "The Package." Desmond is the only person to have survived an electromagnetic event, so Widmore wants to see if he can do it again.
After one of the redshirts is killed by the electromagnetism, Desmond is brought in the room, and the generator is turned on. Desmond is knocked out, but otherwise unharmed. He wakes up a few seconds later, but his mind had traveled to the flashsideways world so he has a whole new disposition about him. He's eager to help Widmore now and doesn't even want to hear Widmore's explanation. (But we fans sure do!)
Zoe and some more redshirts are walking with Desmond, the group is jumped by Sayid, who kills the redshirts but lets Zoe run away. Why'd he spare her? He tells Desmond that these people are dangerous, and Desmond doesn't hesitate to go with him. Wonder why Desmond was so eager to help Widmore but is now so eager to go with Sayid? Is he just happy-go-lucky now that he's seen his sideways life with Penny or does he know more than the episode showed us? Does he know what his purpose is or why the island isn't finished with him yet?
Widmore said that he will ask Desmond to make a sacrifice. What sacrifice could he be asking? Penny? Charlie? or something larger, like his whole life in the island timeline so the sideways timeline happens?
Desmond met Claire in the airport and mentioned that he doesn't like surprises (hmm, Man in Black doesn't like surprises either). He also tells her he thinks her baby is a boy.
Notice the name of the bar Charlie goes into? Jax (Jack's) of course.
Desmond tells Charlie that there's always a choice, brotha, reinforcing the free will aspect of Lost.
Does "You All Everybody" have a verse or other lyrics? All we ever hear is "you all everybody, you all ..."
In a totally opposite move from "Flashes Before Your Eyes," Widmore shares his MacCutcheon whiskey with Desmond and even says that nothing's too good for Desmond.
Did you notice Eloise's broach (see her pic above)? In "Flashes Before Your Eyes," she was wearing a ouroborus, or a snake eating its own tail. In the flash story she has on two parallel lines with what looks like a star or explosion on each line, causing sections that would intersect the other line. Is this a metaphor for the two timelines?
Last week's episode was an hour-long V promotion with the countdown clock. Well, this week's could have been a Flashforward promotion with Sonya Walger and Dominic Monaghan being so prominently involved.
Other recaps and analysis of "Happily Ever After":
- Lostpedia "Happily Ever After"
- Doc Jensen's initial reaction; Doc Jensen's Recap
- Washington Post Dueling Analysis
- Zap2It Lost Recap
- The Watcher
- What's Alan Watching
- JOpinionated Initial Thoughts & Theories
- Things I Noticed by vozzek
- LongLiveLocke Recap
- Geronimo Jack's Beard
*Photos from Lost-Media.com & losteastereggs.blogspot.com